By Lisa W. Miller, President at Lisa W. Miller & Associates, LLC Consumer Insights & Innovation Strategist

When we are told we can’t do something, it makes us want to do it more.

It lights a fire of appreciation for the things that bring us joy while also opening us up to new choices we might not otherwise have considered. These truths will likely be the catalyst and the needed spark for the economic recovery when consumers are released from the current lockdown. #CovidPathForward At the end of the day, businesses bring joy, not just function.

Different questions are needed

There’s a lot of negative data out there showing the devastating impact on businesses. We don’t need more research to tell us that. We need to ask different questions that help businesses understand what happens when the pent up demand is released. Which categories bring the most joy and which will be chosen first? Are these one in the same or not? Also, what are the new activities that consumers are doing now that might continue after we are released?

Americans are resilient

The national research was conducted by Lisa W. Miller & Associates to give hope to struggling businesses. It reflects the resilience of Americans and the simple truth that shutdown businesses bring us needed joy, not just function. Our research was fielded in April 2020 by Prodege, a leading market research panel, among a sample of 1000 Americans aged 18+. Sample is balanced according to US Census on Age, Gender, Region and Ethnicity. There will be more insights to come from this data set and subsequent waves of research.

Finding joy in the Post-Covid world

The top 5 of 17 categories that provide the most “joy” Among those that can no longer participate in /are doing less often:

  • Dining out 81%
  • Going to church 75%
  • Working out at the gym 67%
  • Going to the beach or lake 62%
  • Going to the movies 59%

There are gender differences in what brings joy

  • Men more likely to say Going to the movies (67% vs. 53%)
  • Women more likely to say Getting a spa treatment (50% vs. 37%)

Unleashing the Pent Up Demand

The top 5 of 17 categories that consumers will “do first” is largely the same with one important difference - there is huge pent up demand for hair salons, moving up to third place of things consumers want to do first. Among those that can no longer participate in /are doing less often:

  • Dining out 86%
  • Going to church 77%
  • Get hair done (cut, color, highlights, etc.) 71% Top 5 for women AND men!
  • Working out at the gym 67%
  • Going to the movies 59%

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When conceptualizing this complex path forward, we must contemplate multiple consumer variables simultaneously, not one at a time as most research does. The visual below shows the intersection between three key consumer dimensions - behaviors, joy and anticipation. The horizontal axis defines #BehaviorChange or the percent of consumers that say they are doing that activity less or have stopped doing it altogether. The vertical axis defines #EmotionalJoy - the activities that bring consumers the most joy. The size of the bubbles represents #Anticipation of the activities that consumers want to do first. The intersection of the three variables paints a picture of what the recovery may look like.

The Path Forward for Businesses

There is light at the end of the tunnel. No matter your industry's placement on the map, opportunities will exist. Leaders must understand the consumers that will be their "early re-entry" consumers, similar to early adopters in typical innovation curves. Who they are, what they will need from us, how to market to them may be different. What will the role be for innovation.

Businesses that can look forward to the “consumer re-entry” will emerge ahead of the pack on the other side. We will be introducing the #CovidReEntryCurve in our next blog. To all the businesses out there, your products, services and your work matter. Let’s get back to joy and get America growing again.

Read the full article here!

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